Book Review: What Kind of Girl - Alyssa Sheinmel

Book Review: What Kind of Girl – Alyssa Sheinmel

The girls at North Bay Academy are taking sides. It all started when Mike Parker’s girlfriend showed up with a bruise on her face. Or, more specifically, when she walked into the principal’s office and said Mike hit her. But the students have questions: Why did she go to the principal and not the police? Why did she stay so long if he was hurting her? Obviously, if it’s true, Mike should be expelled. But is it true? Some girls want to rally for his expulsion – and some want to rally around Mike. The only thing that the entire student body can agree on? Someone is lying. And the truth has to come out.

As soon as I saw that there was a new Alyssa Sheinmel novel I jumped on requesting it from NetGalley where I was super excited to receive an ARC. I’ve previously read Faceless and thought it was incredibly well written so I wanted to give this a go.

For a chunk of the novel the female characters aren’t given names, instead they’re described by their traits which, although I found it hard to follow initially, I found to be an excellent way of writing. For me, it added to the idea that this could happen to anyone no matter how popular, smart etc – part of me wishes that this could have gone on for longer.

Of course it goes without saying that this is a tough book to read with mentions of violence within a relationship, self harm, Bulimia and mental ill health. If these are difficult for you I’d maybe recommend waiting until you’re in the right headspace.

This is, without a doubt, an important read and one that I hope gets a lot of attention. I think it shows that these things do happen to young people. It also makes you question your own reactions to these kinds of stories, who do you believe and why? Can you separate a person and an accusation? All of these questions will make you think for days after finishing it.

There were point where I struggled to read what was happening, I felt such a range of emotions while reading. For a book to make me feel like that was pretty incredible and I applaud Sheinmel for the writing.

I do wish there was more of a resolution at the end because I feel like it was left quite open and there are also some point where I’m not sure I completely followed who was who and what was happening. That said, the book itself was a good read.

This was a 4 star read from me and I’m definitely going to be reading more of Sheinmel’s books because she can transport me into a story and a person’s hardship.

Book Review: The One – John Marrs

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If you could meet your perfect DNA match, why wouldn’t you do it?

A new relationship revolution is happening. After a gene is discovered to match you to ‘the one’ thousands find unimaginable happiness with the person they’re meant to be with, but the path of true love never runs smooth.

Now, personally, I just found the idea of this super creepy, which instantly makes it a novel I want to read. The idea that there is one person who shares a DNA match, in my head it made you sound like you were related. Nevertheless, it is a great idea for a novel. This is what made me originally request a copy for review. I’m always hopeful for a good thriller.

I really wanted to enjoy this novel, and I did to a point. There are a lot of twists and turns, quite a few I didn’t see coming and that made the novel move faster. It also did a great job of making you want to read on, for the last quarter I needed to finish it and find out what happened. I did care more about what happened to some characters more than others.

The main gripe I had with this is that there were just too many characters and it wasn’t until I was more than halfway through that I could remember who was with who and what their backstory was. There was so much going on it almost felt like a collection of short stories, which maybe it should have been. It seemed like because there were so many characters, by the end, the endings became a little disappointing and some big holes appeared.

Marrs clearly has a talent for suspense and writing violence, that was one of the most well crafted parts of the novel I believe. Each character had been given their own flair, however, it was slightly disappointing that I did see some stereotypes playing out which was quite frustrating because it didn’t really fit with the rest of the novel.

I gave The One 3 stars. Overall this was a good read but ultimately the ending just really let it down for me. That said I would still recommend it but make sure you have time to concentrate because it does get confusing and can be hard to remember exactly that is going on. I would still like to read some of Marr’s other work as he clearly has a talent for writing.

Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to give an honest review.

Book Review: Behind Her Eyes – Sarah Pinborough

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Can You Trust Anyone? 

When Louise kisses a gorgeous man at a bar on Friday night, she thinks little of it. After raising a young son alone after a hurtful divorce, she deserves a bit of fun. That is, what she thought was fun until her now boss starts on Monday morning and she realises he’s her mysterious kiss and a married man. While she tries to keep her distance, it’s clear that David hasn’t forgotten. To make matters worse, Louise meets Adele, a young and lonely young woman who’s new to town…she’s also David’s wife. As Louise falls hard into both relationships not all is as it seems. Someone’s playing games, but who?

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Behind Her Eyes for review from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It’s been a while since I’ve read a good thriller, after trying so many of the current ‘it’ books I needed something a little different, a little darker. So I was happy when Pinborough’s novel was ready for me to read. The novel moves between Louise and Adele, two very different women who both have an interest in the same man. The closer the women get, however, the darker the novel becomes.

In true thriller fashion, readers are questioning throughout the whole novel who’s telling the truth. As an outside perspective, I feel that most reader will be a few steps further than our characters, or at least they think they will. I will admit that while I didn’t entirely like some of the twists I was hooked. I needed to pick that book up and get it finished, I needed to see how it was going to work out and if my predictions were correct (some were, some weren’t).

I will say there were times when I felt that the did fall into some of the classic thriller tropes that can get fairly annoying. For example, the idea of a marriage that looks perfect to the outside world but is hiding something dark. This has been done so, so many times before and I did bore me at times because it kept being reiterated, particularly in regards to Adele. There was also the situation of two women who are so different but are thrown together in some way and bond. Realistically I could not see Adele and Louise getting along or being anything like one another, which meant I struggled at some point during the novel.

I had to give it three stars as the ending was a little too neat for my tastes. There were elements that, while intriguing and interesting, I felt didn’t really match the rest of the story and could have had a lot more exploration. To some extent, I felt like they were simply thrown in there for shock factor, which wasn’t needed. A good thriller is largely dependent on the ending the author creates and while this wasn’t my favourite ending, it did have an element of surprise.